Chinese Opera and Acrobatics

Beijing Opera

Beijing Opera

      Beijing Opera is purely a Chinese opera form which enjoys great popularity both at home and abroad. Created and developed by talented artists over several centuries, Beijing Opera is the most representative among all the other Chinese traditional dramatic art forms.
      In Beijing Opera, different color of face represent different character and personality. Yellow and white represent cunning, red stands for uprightness and loyalty, black means valor and wisdom, blue and green indicate the vigorous and enterprising character of rebellious heroes and gold and silver represent mystic or super-natural power.
      According to sex, age, social status, and profession of the character, the character roles in Beijing Opera are divided into four main types: “sheng”, “dan”, “jing”, and “chou”. “Sheng” refers to male roles, and is divided into “lao sheng” (middle-aged or old men), “xiao sheng” (young men) and “wu sheng” (men with martial skills). “Dan” refers to female roles, and is divided into “qingyi” (woman with strict moral code), “lao dan” (elderly woman). "Jing" refers to the roles with painted faces, they are usually warriors, heroes, statesmen, or demons, and is divided into “wen jing” (civilian type) and “wujing” (warrior type). “Chou” is the clown or a comic character and can be recognized at first sight for his special make-up (a patch of white paint on his nose). “Wen chou” (civilian clown) and “wu chou” (clown with martial skills).
      Different robe colors used in Beijing Opera indicate different social status: yellow for imperial family, red for high nobility, red or blue for people of violent nature. A scholar wears a blue gown; a general wears padded armor; an emperor wears a dragon robe. Besides gorgeous clothes and headdresses, jeweled girdles of men and hair ornaments for woman are also used in Beijing Opera.

Chinese Acrobatics

Chinese Acrobatics

      Chinese acrobatics is a popular form of art, and it is attracting more and more people from around the world. Chinese acrobatics has a history of 4000 years, and it stemmed from the Chinese people's everyday life and working experiences. Many traditional acrobatics items use labor instruments and utensils of daily life, such as hunter's tridents, sabers, swords, tables, chairs, jars, and plates, etc. Some items are closely linked with games or sports, such as shuttlecock, diabolo, weight lifting, etc.
      Traditional items of Chinese acrobatics include rope-walking, flying trident, balance on chairs, seesaw stunts, jar tricks, hoop diving, etc. Nowadays, musical accompaniment and stage design have become integral parts in Chinese acrobatics performances. At the same time, many acrobatics troupes were established in China and they toured all over the globe, which promoted friendship and cultural exchanges between China and other countries.